Book Review: Three Hours

Oh but this book. Tense and tightly woven and emotional and so gripping that I don't think I breathed for about the last 15 percent. I absolutely loved it.

This came as no surprise actually, because I am a fan of Rosamund Lupton.

It's about a school shooting, but not in the USA, but rather a sprawling English private school, a school where everybody is equal and acceptance is key and things like this Should Not Happen. The story unfolds over three hours - which you totally could have guessed from the title, right? - and follows several different viewpoints - teachers and students and parents and police until it reaches a climax that takes your breath away. This is one of those wow that ending books that leaves you sat there a little breathless, and sad. It ended the way it had to end, but it ended in a way that hurt. Holy emotional sucker punch, batman,

Three hours. Doesn't seem like long, but at the same time is just long enough.

This is such a tense read, I'm not even kidding. I read it with my hands curled into fists and my chest tight; you're dropped right into the drama - headteacher Mr Carr has been shot and is barricaded in the library with some children trying to keep him alive whilst the gunman prowls the corridor outside; the drama club are hiding out in the theatre, practising Macbeth and trying to pretend it's all ok (and the juxtaposition of this story against that of Macbeth is something else, so impressive), parents are gathering on the outskirts of the school in terror, Rafi a refugee from Syria driven by his love for his younger brother and his girlfriend and suffering from PTSD is desperate to save everybody even at risk to himself and outside in the woods a second gunman points a gun at the window of the pottery class where the infants hide under the table. I feel a little bit goosey just thinking about it.

“Rafi told her once that for him it isn’t Macbeth and Lady Macbeth who are the frightening characters, but First Murderer, Second Murderer, Third Murderer, men without names; unknown killers in the darkness.”

The narrative goes back and forth in time, moving also from classroom to classroom and back again and I love that, always here for the split narratives and the time jumps. It's chilling and atmospheric and so very very timely. It's a thriller I guess, if I had to put it into a category, full of of twists and turns and red herrings and just as that alone it's standout, but somehow, amazingly, it manages to be more than that:  it's also a social study - it touches on white supremacy and Islamophobia and radicalisation -  and it's a book with so much heart, a book about love and how it is all we need.

It isn't an easy read - although at the same time it totally is - but it's a fast-paced, gripping and ultimately important read and I really loved it, FYI. It's out now at the places books are sold. Like here.